Andrew Harvey answers the question:
What is the nicest thing a non-family member has ever done for you?
The nicest thing a non-family member has done for me was done by my great heart teacher, my soul father of my life, Father Bede Griffiths. One night when he was dying and I was by his bedside, he sat up in the middle of the night and looked at the empty, open door and quite clearly was seeing the Divine Beloved. e started to cry out four words that gave me unforgettably the secret to the evolutionary truth of our time. He said again and again and again, “Serve the growing Christ... Serve the growing Christ... Serve the growing Christ... Serve the growing Christ.”
And because I was in that charged, ecstatic, holy, tender, loving communion with him, by his bedside, I understood on a visceral level, immediately through his grace and through the grace of the Beloved, what those words meant, those four words. They meant that the Divine Beloved is growing in all of us and is destined to be born in us, heart, mind, soul, and body. And that our task now is this tremendous birth that’s taking place through a tremendous death is to serve that birth by trying to embody it, its radiance and its joy and its passion and its compassion and its passion for justice as deeply as possible and encouraging it, the signs of this tremendous birth to get ever more vibrant.
Father Bede Griffiths
So, serve the growing Christ in myself, I understood. Serve the growing Christ in everyone I meet because everyone is in this vast alchemical mystery of a birth of a new humanity. Serve the growing Christ in all realms and the world and all the institutions and all arts and all sciences. Serve this tremendous new fusion of divine and matter that's happening in our time, this embodying drama that's happening. And serve the growing Christ in the world, in this mystery that some mystics like Teilhard have imagined, of matter itself going through, through our transfiguration a transfiguration.
This sounds completely wild in a time as dark and ferocious as ours but as Bede reminded me, when I asked him in a lucid moment what he meant, he said, "All great births are terrifying because they are more than transformations," he said. "They are mutations. They are the birthing of a new species, a species that has taken a quantum leap of embodiment."
And this vision that he gave me in those four words as I sat with my heart absolutely shattered by the pain of his dying but also the beauty of his dying, that revelation of reality was the nicest thing that anyone has ever done for me, family member or not.
Andrew Harvey is an author, speaker, and founder/director of the Institute of Sacred Activism, an international organization focused on inviting concerned people to take up the challenge of our contemporary global crises by becoming inspired, effective, and practical agents of institutional and systemic change in order to create peace and sustainability.
Andrew has taught at Oxford University, Cornell University, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, the California Institute of Integral Studies, and the University of Creation Spirituality as well as at various spiritual centers throughout the U.S. He was the subject of the 1993 BBC film documentary, The Making of a Modern Mystic, and appears also in Rumi Turning Ecstatic and The Consciousness of the Christ: Reclaiming Jesus for A New Humanity.
He is co-author of the bestselling The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, and has worked with the great Iranian Sufi dancer Banafsheh Sayyad in producing a film, In the Fire of Grace, which marries Sufi-inspired dances to the stages of Rumi’s understanding of the path of divine love.
Click here to visit Andrew’s website.
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This article appears in: 2019 Catalyst, Issue 23: Visionaries Global Summit